The Sony Xperia 1 II – pronounced Sony Xperia 1 Mark 2 – is the Japanese firm’s newest try at a full-blown flagship telephone to compete with the easiest from Apple, and from Samsung and quite a lot of different rising Android rivals.
That is the most effective Sony handset we’ve seen for a while, with main enhancements in some core areas, but it surely’s additionally an costly telephone that’s designed for a slim demographic. Consider this as Sony’s various to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely, relatively than the extra ubiquitous Samsung Galaxy S20 or S20 Plus.
The Sony Xperia 1 II provides essentially the most refined design from the corporate thus far, whereas retaining its signature sq. look. There’s additionally the return of a beautiful 4K show that gives a decision you gained’t discover on different smartphones.
Sony’s 4K telephones have struggled previously on the subject of battery life, however we’ve discovered the Sony Xperia 1 II to carry out excellently, with a battery that may see you thru a minimum of a full day of regular utilization, whereas if you happen to’re a lightweight person it may well final even longer.
It’s highly effective, with a top-end chipset beneath the hood and automated cameras modes which are higher than we’ve seen on earlier Sony merchandise, and also you get entry to top-end options like 5G connectivity and wi-fi charging too.
The individuality of the telephone may also be its detriment, although. It’s designed for a really particular form of person – those that need a telephone with an elongated display screen and the optimum expertise when taking part in video games or watching movies – and because of this it may be considerably impractical in on a regular basis use. And whereas some will love its seems to be, it’s clear this isn’t a telephone that’s made for everyone.
Then there’s the small matter of the upper than anticipated worth. The Sony Xperia 1 II isn’t with out its faults, however it’s the most completed telephone from the corporate for a while, and exhibits that it may well nonetheless compete on the high finish of the Android telephone market.
Sony Xperia 1 II launch date and worth
The Sony Xperia 1 II was unveiled in February 2020, on the firm’s alternative occasion for MWC 2020. These within the US will be capable of pre-order the telephone from June 1, and it’s additionally out there to pre-order within the UK from June 4. The telephone gained’t be launched in Australia, so if you need one there you’ll must import it.
Within the UK you’ll be capable of purchase the Xperia 1 II from June 18, and it’ll be out there from O2, Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse. These within the US must wait some time longer, because it gained’t go on sale there till July 24.
That is an costly telephone: at $1,199.99 / £1,099 (round AU$1,840) it’s one of the vital costly smartphones in the marketplace in the mean time, costing extra even than the iPhone 11 Professional Max within the US, the place that telephone is priced at $1,099 (it’s £1,149 within the UK and AU$1,899 in Australia).
That mentioned, it’s not as dear because the Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely, which prices $1,399 / £1,199 / AU$1,999. The true shock, although, comes once you evaluate it to the Sony Xperia 1 from 2019, which value $949 / £849 (roughly AU$1,365).
The value improve is essentially because of the introduction of 5G know-how, however a rise of $250 / £250 is steep nonetheless.
Some pre-order offers for the Xperia 1 II will get you a free pair of Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds, that are valued at $230 / £220 / AU$400, which can ease the ache a bit. That deal is unique to O2 within the UK, whereas it appears the provide is broadly out there within the US till June 28.
Sony’s design for the Xperia 1 II hasn’t radically modified from the previous couple of variations of its flagship smartphone, and it has a premium really feel that permits it to take a seat fortunately alongside top-end telephones from the likes of Samsung and Apple.
This can be a very specific machine although, and plenty of will discover it a troublesome telephone to carry one-handed for on a regular basis duties like messaging or shopping social media. That’s owing to the 21:9 facet ratio show, which makes the telephone taller than lots of different flagships; if you happen to like smaller telephones you’re unlikely to be a fan.
The Xperia 1 II has dimensions of 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6mm, and is comparatively gentle in comparison with different flagships at 181.4g. It has a 6.5-inch show, a measurement that’s been properly worn on lots of different model’s telephones; however that’s measuring the display screen diagonally, and the show feels even bigger right here due to the 21:9 facet ratio. We’ll dive into the remainder of the show particulars within the part beneath.
As talked about the telephone has Sony’s signature sq. edges and corners, but it surely nonetheless sits within the palm properly once you set the aforementioned situation with one-handed use apart. The rear of the telephone is product of glass (and is protected by Gorilla Glass 6 know-how), giving it a premium really feel; we additionally discovered the rear of the telephone simple sufficient to grip.
You should purchase the telephone in both black or purple – all through this evaluate you’ll see the black model that we examined.
The precise fringe of the telephone is dwelling to the quantity rocker, energy button, and Sony’s acquainted digicam button. The facility button additionally acts as a fingerprint sensor, which we discovered to work properly. The SIM card slot is the one interruption on the left fringe of the machine.
It’s a little bit of a disgrace that Sony hasn’t adopted an in-screen fingerprint scanner, like lots of different top-end manufacturers – it’s one thing that will give this telephone a barely extra futuristic really feel, and sign that the Xperia line is retaining tempo with rival flagships.
As with lots of Sony merchandise over the past 5 years, the Xperia 1 II is IP65/IP68 mud and water-proof, so that you’ll be capable of get it barely moist in a thunderstorm with out worrying about flooding the internals.
Some of the essential components for some followers would be the return of the three.5mm headphone jack. Many flagship gadgets have dropped the legacy tech as increasingly folks transfer towards Bluetooth connections, however Sony has opted to deliver it again right here after dropping it for the Xperia 1.
We discovered it to be a helpful addition, and if you happen to’re a fan of wired headphones this telephone is one in every of your few choices if you need each flagship specs and three.5mm assist.
To at the present time, Sony is the one producer that gives a 4K show on a smartphone. That’s possible as a result of many firms imagine QHD is a excessive sufficient decision, but it surely’s a standout function for individuals who need to watch content material within the highest attainable high quality.
The display screen is on the bigger aspect at 6.5 inches, and in contrast to lots of different top-end telephones it has a 21:9 facet ratio. We’ve seen another producers undertake this format, however Sony was the primary to take action, and it’s one other signature function of its handsets.
The thought right here is that your display screen is longer than lots of different telephones so that you’ve bought extra space on the show to observe on. That ought to help you have a wider view once you’re cellular gaming, and provides a extra premium expertise when watching movies or TV.
For that to be the case, the content material you’re consuming must be in 21:9, and whereas lots of content material isn’t in that format – we struggled to search out YouTube movies that didn’t robotically play in 16:9 – there’s a lot to observe on the market.
For instance, Intercourse Training on Netflix defaulted to 21:9, and lots of TV exhibits and movies on the service default to this facet ratio. It offers them a really totally different feeling that’s nearer to what their creators supposed, even when lots of these creators most likely didn’t intend for his or her content material to be seen on a telephone within the first place.
The 4K decision permits for 1644 x 3840 pixels, which equates to a humongous 643 pixels per inch. We discovered the colours seemed pure, and the utmost brightness appears to be increased than on earlier Sony telephones, which reinforces the viewing expertise additional.
It’s essential to notice that Sony hasn’t opted for a notch to accommodate the front-facing digicam, the logic presumably being that if you happen to’re going to go to the difficulty of making the right telephone display screen for viewing media on, why would you then take a chuck out of it?
As a substitute, there are slight bezels alongside the highest and backside of the show, with the highest bezel housing the selfie digicam, and front-facing audio system in each bezels.
Sony needs the Xperia 1 II to be the finest digicam telephone in the marketplace, and if you happen to’re prepared to spend time twiddling with the settings within the digicam app’s skilled mode you’ll be rewarded with some great-looking photos.
When you’d relatively let the digicam software program do all of the exhausting work, Sony has additionally made some enhancements to the automated mode on the Xperia 1 II. It’s now simpler to get photographs that may compete with these shot on the easiest digicam telephones simply by hitting the shutter button.
The telephone has a quad-camera array, housed in a bump which juts out barely from the rear of the telephone, with 12MP f/1.7 extensive, 12MP f/2.Four telephoto and 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide shooters, plus a 0.3MP time of flight sensor.
In our testing we discovered that the Xperia 1 II is ready to shoot properly via its automated mode.
The autofocus proved remarkably speedy, and we discovered that the Xperia 1 II was in a position to seize some remarkably sharp photographs, with colours that look true to life – meaning you gained’t essentially get essentially the most dramatic or punchy-looking photos right away, as you may with some Galaxy or iPhone telephones, but it surely does offer you a devoted image of your topic.
When you’re a fan of Sony’s digicam merchandise, you’ll benefit from the know-how on provide right here.
You possibly can shoot video on the Sony Xperia 1 II in quite a lot of resolutions and body charges. It’s able to 4K at 60 frames per second, whilst you can shoot at as much as 120fps (that’s slow-motion) in Full HD.
The stabilization know-how right here is especially spectacular, enabling you to shoot hand-held with out having to fret about footage wanting shaky.
Sony has included skilled apps for each stills and video capturing, enabling you to tweak a variety of settings – if you happen to’re a eager photographer or videographer who enjoys tinkering you’ll be capable of get some phenomenal-looking photographs.
On the entrance of the telephone is an 8MP selfie digicam, which we discovered supplied passable snaps, however they’re not wherever close to as spectacular as these from the rear cameras.
Digital camera samples
Specs and efficiency
The Sony Xperia 1 II is powered by the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset that we’ve seen powering lots of the top-end telephones in 2020, together with the Samsung Galaxy S20 vary in sure areas.
It’s put to good use right here, and we didn’t come throughout any points in our evaluate interval. Apps and providers loaded rapidly, and we weren’t ever left ready for the telephone to meet up with us.
We ran the Geekbench 5 benchmarking app on the telephone, and it returned a median multi-core rating of 3085. That’s the same rating to the Samsung Galaxy S20 gadgets we’ve examined, however barely decrease than each the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus Eight Professional.
The chipset is paired with 8GB of RAM (there aren’t any configuration choices), which ought to hold the Xperia 1 II powering alongside and as responsive as you want it to be. It dealt with video games properly, with comparatively brief load occasions, and we didn’t encounter any stutter.
You get 256GB of storage as normal, which needs to be loads of area on your apps and media, and there’s a microSD card slot must you want extra storage.
One of many headline specs of the Xperia 1 II is that that is the primary 5G telephone from Sony, which matches a way in direction of accounting for the worth improve over the Sony Xperia 1.
The telephone helps sub-6 5G know-how, which is essentially the most widespread normal for the next-gen connectivity. Meaning the Xperia 1 II isn’t suitable with mmWave 5G networks although, so that you gained’t be capable of get improved speeds on Verizon within the US (the service solely makes use of that tech).
Sony telephones have had a chequered historical past on the subject of battery life, however the Sony Xperia 1 II is among the firm’s finest gadgets but on this regard.
It encompasses a 4,000mAh cell, which isn’t significantly huge contemplating it’s powering a shiny 6.5-inch 4K show, however regardless of this we discovered the battery on the Sony Xperia 1 II might final a full day of medium to intense utilization all through our evaluate interval.
You’re unlikely to get a full two days of use out of the battery, and if you happen to’re watching lots of content material on the telephone it might not final you a single day, however if you’re a extra intensive person there are a selection of how to recharge the telephone.
The Sony Xperia 1 II is the primary machine from the corporate to supply wi-fi charging, and we discovered this to work properly. It additionally comes with wired fast-charging know-how, which ought to allow you to high up your machine rapidly when it is advisable to.
Purchase it if…
You watch lots of media in your telephone
The display screen on the Sony Xperia 1 II is among the finest in the marketplace, and the 21:9 facet ratio and 4K decision provide among the best viewing experiences amongst flagship telephones. It’s not significantly simple to make use of.
You want a 3.5mm headphone jack
The Sony Xperia 1 II is among the few flagship telephones in the marketplace to function the legacy know-how, and it’s an awesome addition if you happen to’re an audiophile who needs to have the ability to use their wired headphones with out an adapter.
You need a sturdy rear digicam setup
This isn’t the most effective digicam telephone for everybody, however it may well take some fantastic-looking photos in auto mode – and you will get even higher outcomes if you happen to’re completely happy to dive into the professional mode settings.
Don’t purchase it if…
You want an inexpensive flagship telephone
Sony has caught a excessive worth on the Xperia 1 II, and that’s a difficulty if you happen to’re searching for an inexpensive telephone from Sony. Different Sony handsets such because the Xperia 5 or Xperia L4 could also be for you if you happen to just like the model however you don’t need to spend this a lot.
You possibly can’t deal with a big telephone
This can be a troublesome telephone to deal with in case you have smaller palms, otherwise you’re simply used to a smaller telephone, and the 21:9 facet ratio makes it tough to make use of one-handed. It’s additionally a big telephone in your pocket, which is one thing else to remember.
You need an in-screen fingerprint scanner
This can be a minor situation, however lots of 2020’s top-end telephones have in-screen fingerprint scanners, and it is a function that’s noticeable by its absence from the Xperia 1 II.
First reviewed: June 2020